Robert Mehmet Sinan Ikiz: All Aboard
AAJ: You explore your Turkish heritage on the song "Hastayim Yasiyorum." Why did you choose to record that particular piece?
RI: I listen to Turkish classical music quite often. It usually features big choirs and huge string orchestras, but I wanted to try and arrange a piece from the Turkish classical library, for jazz trio. I love the work of Udi Hrant, a blind oud player that composed "Hastayim Yasiyorum." The title means: "I'm sick, but I'm alive." I have always loved this composition, and so I told Erik that I wanted to arrange it for a jazz trio.
AAJ: What other names from Turkey would you recommend to an AAJ reader?
RI: Husnu Senlendirici is a great clarinetist that plays lots of different styles, including modern jazz. Zeki Muren is a fantastic singer with really perfect pronunciationin fact, people who study Turkish often listen to Zeki Muren's songs, as he sings so clearly and "properly" in Turkish.
AAJ: Checking In is out on your own label, Stockholm Jazz Records.
RI: I decided to release it on my own label, rather than shopping around for someone to release it, because I wanted to retain creative control over every aspect of the album, from the sound to the artwork, as it is such a personal project. Stockholm Jazz Records started when I was in a group about 11 or 12 years ago, and we decided to put out our first recording ourselves. Later I hooked up with pianist Daniel Tilling and we continued with the label. Now we have almost 20 recordings. All the musicians on the label are busy people, but we still try to put some effort into it whenever we can. We have some great CDs on the label by some very talented musicians on the label. I like to have projects outside of my other work that are still music related.
AAJ: Today, with music platforms such as iTunes or Spotify, people can listen to different styles of music much more easily than ever before. Do you feel the diversity of styles on Checking In will appeal to today's music fans more because of this?
RI: I hadn't thought about it that way before, but it is possible. I just knew that the range of styles would hold people's attention much better in a live setting. While my next album might well stick to one style, right now I want to show people how all these examples of good music can work well together. The first release shows are in Stockholm, Berlin and Paris, and when people from different cultures come to my shows, they'll hear one song with a jazz trio and the next will be much funkier, with a Fender Rhodes and an electric bass, and the next with a singer, like China Moses. The live show is a kind of musical journey, which in my opinion is a lot more fun to witness than an hour of the same kind of music.
AAJ: So do you aim to educate your audiences with a musical trip around the world?
RI: I'd like people to leave the venue feeling like they've learned something or at least heard something new. They'll also have seen a lot of good musicians interacting with each other.
AAJ: While it is interesting to note the different styles and influences on Checking In, it very much remains a jazz recording.
RI: I approach different genres from a jazz perspective, and there's improvisation on each song on the album. It is the melodies that come from different genres or parts of the world, not the way they are played on the album. The songs are played in a jazz style. I'd like people that come to the show or listen to the album on CD to be able to go away afterwards and sing some of the melodies. I want the melodies to stick in people's minds. I knew I wanted to try and bring together world-class musicians that represent the different musical traditions that inspire me, but I wasn't sure exactly how it would work. It turned out much better than I could have ever imagined.
Ikiz, Checking In (Stockholm Jazz Records, 2012)
Magnus Lindgren Batucada Jazz, Live at New Morning, Paris (Gazell Records, 2012)
Magnum Coltrane Price, The Getaway (CareMusic, 2010)
Nils Landgren Funk Unit, Funk For Life (ACT, 2010)
Dan Reed Band, Live at Union Chapel (DVD) (Zero one Music, 2010)
Erik Lindeborg Trio, Time (Stockholm Jazz Records, 2010)
Tilling-Ikiz-Kling, Solitary Interests (Stockholm Jazz Records, 2009)
Andreas Öberg with Marian Petrescu, Live In Concert (Hot Club Records, 2006)
Andreas Öberg, Young Jazz Guitarist (Hot Club Records, 2005)
Pages 1, 3: Mikael Silkeberg
Page 2: Courtesy of Robert Mehmet Sinan Ikiz